Until Next Time, Denmark

Now that I am at the tail end of this summer fellowship I can hardly believe that all the fun and fruitful experiences I’ve had here in Denmark are almost already behind me. When I return home and my friends ask me, “How was Denmark?” I really have no idea where to begin, but I’ll try my best to lay it out for you here.

Over the summer I’ve had the great pleasure of being a summer fellow with Maersk Drilling where I dove straight into several issues mainly surrounding air pollution and energy efficiency. Communicating with my supervisor prior to arriving I had formulated a scope of work centered on emerging sustainability trends in the industry, which I have continued to focus on throughout the summer, but over time began to involve myself in many other projects and initiatives in tandem.

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The projects I helped with ranged from analyzing and determining internal definitions for environment-impacting phenomena to the funding and employment of innovative and efficiency-bolstering technologies. On several occasions (primarily in the beginning of the summer) I found myself with free time in the office and would go to different departments working on projects that I found interesting. I spoke with people about my educational background, my personal interests, and what value I could bring to the project they were currently undertaking. Because of this approach, I soon became involved in many things at once keeping me plenty busy for nearly the entire summer.

As I made progress in these endeavors I often would conduct department meetings to brief my colleagues on the results I found or recommendations for the company. Now that I am nearing the end, I have two important briefings left. One will cover a follow-up for a previous meeting on Emission Control Areas, how the company monitors its emissions and centers its focus, and what economic and viable solutions exist that can help with improving the current situation. The other will cover my continued research on and formulation of important emerging sustainability and environmental trends in the industry that would behoove Maersk Drilling to understand and consider embracing in a strategy to stay ahead of the curve.

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Apart from my in-the-office experiences, I was also endowed with a fantastic host, Thomas, to whom I owe a great deal for being such a great flatmate, and colleagues who made that much-appreciated effort to make me feel like part of the family. Thomas, a personal trainer at a local gym, and I would work out together and go grab dinner on occasion. We went downtown to check out different shops and restaurants or just to hang out and walk around. Every other week or so my colleagues would extend an invitation for some event or gathering where I got to know many of them much better in a less professional environment. I even attended a concert in downtown København, which turned out to be great fun!

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During the summer I also had the opportunity to take some time off to extend my weekends enabling me to travel a bit while in Europe. I ended up taking a few weekend excursions to Germany and, like I’ve written about in my last blog, was able to take a longer two weeks off for a class up in Norway. It was also possible for my girlfriend to come visit, which was a nice reminder of what I loved and missed about home. We explored many museums and landmarks in København and at the end of her stay took a trip down to Germany where we saw much of the maritime history of Hamburg.

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Now that I am returning to Monterey I look forward to my remaining time at MIIS and how my summer fellowship may further enhance and augment my studies. Even though I am turning the page and closing this chapter, the story is far from over. I can’t wait for what the future may bring!

Natural Resource Policy and Management at NHH

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After three weeks with Mærsk Drilling I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend the Norwegian School of Economics (NHH) in Bergen, Norway through its partnership with MIIS. It was a two week course on Natural Resource Policy and Management: The Norwegian Model. The course was free of charge for attendance (thank you Norway!) and was great supplemental material for my internship with Mærsk Drilling. The course consisted mainly of teachings on fisheries management, oil and gas management, financial and physical energy markets, and how the Norwegian government has managed its natural resource endowment wisely in recent decades.

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The people I have encountered throughout this course are from a myriad of different countries, schools, industries and personal backgrounds. Everyone fortified the fun and friendly, yet academically motivated, environment and really made the course the valuable experience it turned out to be. I can easily say I’ve made some friends at NHH that I will be staying in touch with for years to come.

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Throughout the course those who organized it put on all kinds of events where people could escape their studies and enjoy the beautiful Norwegian atmosphere. It certainly helped that the first week of this course was blessed with beautiful, sunny weather. There were hikes, BBQs and city center outings after class where we had the chance to see more of Bergen’s history. On a few of these occasions some people actually went swimming in the North Sea! Who would have thought that the waters off the coast of Bergen weren’t all that far off from Californian waters!

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Along with all the fun activities that were planned for all the students, we also had outings that were part of the course. We went to a fishery that showed us how sustainable Norwegian fish farms can be, a tour around Bergen when we first arrived, and a Statoil gas production plant (which we weren’t able to take photos of) just to name a few.

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Now, having gone through this two week course I have both reinforced ideas and concepts I first learned at MIIS as well as walked away with a new and better understanding of successful resource management models. Although much of what I learned had a focus on government policies and management, I learned a lot about the energy market, as well with the mix of renewables, non-renewables, and the spot and day-ahead markets, which are extremely valuable when seeing where Mærsk Drilling fits into the larger picture.

I am extremely happy for taking the initiative on attending this course and so grateful to have had this opportunity provided by MIIS in the first place. Even though I will surely miss beautiful Norway, I can’t wait to see where this experience may lead me in the future.

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Hva så, København!

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Upon arriving I found myself being extremely compatible with Danish culture. People here are generally prompt, kind and friendly. The food (Denmark is a meat-lover’s paradise) I will speak about later in more detail, but there are so many great places downtown København (Copenhagen) to eat and spend a leisurely afternoon. The weather has been beautiful, the architecture amazing, and the people neighborly, making this area the perfect destination for a summer excursion.

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